Krzyzewski tirade puts a 'little pop' in Duke's step

OMAHA, NEB. (WTVD) -- Duke is one win away from taking Mike Krzyzewski to his record 13th Final Four. He shares the record of 12 with UCLA legend John Wooden.

Early in the second half, Krzyzewski did something Wooden never would've dreamed of: He tore off his jacket and threw it to the floor, calling a timeout after Syracuse scored two quick baskets to trim its deficit to three.

"It set the tone for me," said Coach K, who has two freshmen, Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr., who will likely be NBA lottery picks later this spring. "You could see. I coach 'em, so I could see, they were real young. They had young looks. Thank goodness they got out of it."

What started as a chess match turned into a free-throw-shooting contest. When it was over, Duke had survived and advanced.

"He lets you know what's on his mind. You'd better respond the right way. We did that as a team," Carter said. "We needed a little pop in our step. We needed someone, you know, to light a fire under us and get us going."

Grayson Allen and Gary Trent Jr., made four clutch free throws down the stretch to help Duke hold off Syracuse 69-65 and land the Blue Devils in a 1 vs. 2 regional final against Kansas.

"A great game to win, a very difficult game to lose," Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

The teams went back and forth, trading alley-oop dunks and 3-pointers until the end-game played out with 21 seconds left.

We needed to make some shots," Allen said. "The other part of it is, they really force you into some tough shots most of the time."

When asked about Kansas, the Blue Devils' next opponent, Krzyzewski said it was something to look forward to.

"It's great when you have two programs of this nature, this status in the history of our game play for a Final Four berth. I think it's great for the sport," Krzyzewski said.

Duke players from left, Wendell Carter Jr., Marvin Bagley III, Trevon Duval, Gary Trent Jr. and Grayson Allen meet the media Saturday to discuss the matchup against Kansas.

The Blue Devils have won three of five all-time meetings against Kansas in the tournament, most recently in the 2003 Sweet 16.

Kansas coach Bill Self likes the way his Jayhawks are playing.

"We've got a legitimate shot to go to San Antonio," Self said. "I think we'll play with no 'what ifs.' I think we'll be loose."

Duke is a betting favorite in the game even though it is the lower seed.

The Jayhawks have clawed their way into their third straight regional final as a No. 1 behind teamwork and a toughness that wasn't always there in the winter.

Their last two wins, over Seton Hall and Clemson, came by just 4 points apiece - but Kansas has won six straight postseason games after tearing through the Big 12 Tournament.

"It'll be a tough game. But it's going to be a fun game," Self said. "We know we've got our hands full. But we like to think they have their hands full too."

The young Blue Devils have flourished under the leadership of senior captain Allen, who is 12-2 in the NCAA tournament.

"We're both here for a reason. It'll be a good one," Bagley said.

As for records and milestones:

"When you start thinking about (breaking records) you can rationalize," Krzyzewski said. "And rationalization is one of the things that stops people from continued excellence, because they live in the past. And then they stop adapting and they stop getting hungry,"

Duke and Kansas are scheduled to tip off 5:05 p.m. Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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